What’s Wrong with Your Customer Experience?

The global pandemic accelerated a shift toward e-commerce. In one industry survey, online sellers reported growth of 44% or more over the same period from the past year. However, companies don’t realize that user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) factors can squander a new customer relationship before it begins. Recent studies show that a whopping 88% of online shoppers claim they would never return to a site after a bad experience.  

Based on industry best practices and our own experiences, we’ve compiled a list of five common website issues that can unwittingly ruin a customer experience online.  

1. Slow Loading Speed 

Many business owners and managers don’t realize that site speed can make or break an e-commerce store. “It looks fine on my device” might work if you’re eyeballing a new design, but that doesn’t account for the systems or networks your customers use to reach your site. No matter how beautiful your site is or how practical your products are, visitors will not stick around if your loading speed doesn’t meet their expectations.  

Google tells developers to aim for a load speed of under a half-second, but the search engine giant claims two seconds is the maximum tolerance for an e-commerce website. Studies reveal that 57% of visitors will leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load. 

How To Fix It 

Fortunately, you can take a few simple steps to make your site easier to load, especially for users trying to connect over slower networks or with older devices. 

  • Compress images: Resize the images on your site. The full-fidelity version of an image that your photographer sent over can easily clog up your customer’s bandwidth. Even on the latest retina displays, an image resized to 1920 pixels wide will still look great across all devices (without significant compression). 
  • Minimize or remove video backgrounds: We’ve got plenty of clients that like to accent their designs with ambient video backgrounds. If you’re doing the same thing, make sure you’re using a very short loop of video (no more than seven seconds), or pulling a longer video in directly from a streaming content delivery network that can dynamically adjust the asset based on a customer’s bandwidth. 
  • Eliminate popups: Plenty of growth hackers love to put “modals” in the way of your user’s desired action to goose a specific metric. Your visitors consider them tacky. Google’s even going to start penalizing sites who lean too hard on interruptive experiences. We recommend getting rid of them for good, unless they’re part of an experience your user controls. 

2. An Unresponsive Design 

A Google SWOT analysis revealed that over 70% of site traffic comes from mobile searches. With over five billion searches daily, this number still leaves almost two billion searches from various sources like desktops, laptops, and other gadgets.  

A responsive web design is an approach that enables pages to adjust to varying devices and screen sizes. If you have an unresponsive website, you instantly blow the chance to cater to a massive audience. You might notice a sudden drop in visitor retention and engagement figures if your site becomes unresponsive. 

How To Fix It 

When updating your unresponsive website design, keep in mind that even mobile phones have different display sizes. You must ensure that you can provide all your site visitors with a high-quality experience.  

Here’s a version of a quick punch list we’d hand to a client’s development team to address the issue: 

  • Determine breakpoints and plan layouts. You don’t have to anticipate every possible combination in the world, either. Your analytics will show you a few of the most common screen sizes and device types.  
  • Add responsive meta tags to your HTML. The stronger your markup, the more your customers’ devices will do the heavy lifting of laying out the visible parts of your site first. 
  • Use media queries on your page. Based on your breakpoints and your audience’s preferred devices, you can quickly restrict your most bandwidth-intensive features for desktop users on super-fast devices. Keep your mobile versions lean. 
  • Develop flexible videos and images. Newer image formats let you render logos and other graphics as vectors, or deliver highly-compressed images with fewer errors and “artifacts.” If you’ve been sticking with .jpg because it’s what your workflow currently supports, you might be surprised how easy it is to switch to .svg or WebP. 
  • Use legible fonts. We’ve been riding a wave of early-web nostalgia lately. Not only do classic web fonts like Helvetica and Georgia hold up in design, they come pre-installed on nearly every device. You can speed up your customer’s experience by using them as consistent fallbacks for custom fonts that require an extra download. 
  • Anticipate different interaction sources such as screens, keyboards, and mice. Eliminate quirky interactions by focusing on clicks, taps, and tabs. Not only will you speed up interactions for your entire audience, you’ll improve accessibility for customers who require assistive technology. 

3. A Cluttered Layout 

Before you develop or redesign your website, remember that it takes around 0.05 seconds for visitors to decide whether to stay or leave. Additionally, 94% of negative website feedback is design related.  

Recent surveys also suggest that most of the world’s population are visual learners, making your layout crucial in attracting more customers. Apart from an unresponsive design, a cluttered layout is one of the fastest ways to lose potential clients.  

Visitors don’t appreciate cluttered elements with unclear messaging. These layouts confuse them and don’t do your brand any favors.   

How To Fix It 

If your site has become so cluttered that it sends potential clients away, it’s time to revamp it. Below are the design elements you should consider when you improve your site.  

  • Content: When it comes to website layout, content is king. Your site should contain valuable information related to your potential clients’ searches. 
  • Aesthetics: Since most visitors are visual learners, you should apply appealing layouts, colors, and fonts. Remember to make your messaging stand out to introduce your brand as quickly as possible.  
  • Interaction: Your site must resonate with your audience to hold their attention and convert them into customers.  

4. A Dysfunctional Search Bar 

A dysfunctional search bar can frustrate your site visitors. Imagine selling an extensive range of clothes and putting up a search bar to simplify searches. When a potential client types the words white cotton cardigan, the results should match the search.  

We love developers, and most of the folks on our team are developers. However, by nature, developers tend to be very literal. That’s why—on many out-of-the-box e-commerce systems— a client looking for a white cotton cardigan might find “no results” even if the product description is white cardigan.  

How To Fix It 

On very small, focused websites with fewer than 100 pages, you may not need a search bar. However, many customers expect to use them, and you can’t hurt yourself by devoting layout . 

An estimated 30% of site visitors expect to use a search tool on your site, so make sure both your software and your data help achieve your CX goals. Investing in a system that auto-suggests similar products to potential and existing clients can save you from a “zero results” nightmare, but you should also back that up with a comprehensive content review to ensure you’re not just leaning on automated guesswork.   

5. A Complicated Checkout Process 

One of the worst things imaginable for an e-commerce business is having an interested buyer abandon a full cart because of a complicated checkout process. The core concept of UX optimization is minimizing the time it takes for a visitor to land on your page and complete a transaction.  

Your checkout is a crucial part of the CX process. Make sure it’s a quick, simple one that won’t leave customers perplexed.  

How To Fix It 

We recommend a linear checkout process that guides consumers effectively. Here are some suggestions to consider:  

  • Capture email addresses early: Reaching a 100% conversion rate on the checkout page is near impossible. We recommend gathering information early in the sales process so you can create separate campaigns for those who don’t buy from you yet.  
  • Speed up your cart page: It’s essential to summarize everything in the cart and guide users to an obvious next step. Don’t add any unnecessary fields that will add shopper friction.  
  • Integrate data validation: These solutions can drastically accelerate your checkout process. Tools like PCA Predict, Chrome, and Safari store specific information to simplify a user’s shopping experience.  

Elevate Your User Experience Today 

At Johns & Taylor, we specialize in helping our clients tweak their websites to better achieve their desired results. Whether that’s getting more folks to move all the way through a checkout process, or encouraging more influencers to write about your brand, your goals should always inform how your site functions. 

All of our client relationships begin with a discovery session, where we learn more about a company’s goals—and the barriers we can help remove. Book your complimentary user experience discovery session with us today. 

Young black woman on sofa with laptop and cellphone looking frustrated

Who are Johns & Taylor?

We’re a team of master certified user experience researchers, consultants, and digital content experts. With backgrounds in media, technology, and journalism, we understand how to help our clients accomplish their goals online.

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